Rebel Rank And File

Overview

Often considered irredeemably conservative, the US working class actually has a rich history of revolt. Rebel Rank and File uncovers the hidden story of insurgency from below against employers and union bureaucrats in the late 1960s and 1970s.

From the mid-1960s to 1981, rank-and-file workers in the United States engaged in a level of sustained militancy not seen since the Great Depression and World War II. Millions participated in one of the largest strike waves in US...

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Overview

Often considered irredeemably conservative, the US working class actually has a rich history of revolt. Rebel Rank and File uncovers the hidden story of insurgency from below against employers and union bureaucrats in the late 1960s and 1970s.

From the mid-1960s to 1981, rank-and-file workers in the United States engaged in a level of sustained militancy not seen since the Great Depression and World War II. Millions participated in one of the largest strike waves in US history. There were 5,716 stoppages in 1970 alone, involving more than 3 million workers. Contract rejections, collective insubordination, sabotage, organized slowdowns, and wildcat strikes were the order of the day.

Workers targeted much of their activity at union leaders, forming caucuses to fight for more democratic and combative unions that would forcefully resist the mounting offensive from employers that appeared at the end of the postwar economic boom. It was a remarkable era in the history of US class struggle, one rich in lessons for today’s labor movement.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Truly shines ... By uncovering the hidden history of the 1970s, Rebel Rank and File reminds us that there is another path to union renewal—a path firmly rooted in the workplace and motivated by visions of transforming society.”—Joe Burns, In These Times

“An important collection ... honest and thoughtful.”—World Wide Work

“This is an unusually high-quality effort, with an all-star cast of authors, which should attract wide interest.”—Nelson Lichtenstein, Professor of History at University of California Santa Barbara

“The chapters in this collection take the reader on a vivid journey through battlegrounds of the 1960s and 1970s where workers and employers clashed over the future of the US workplace.”—Steve Downs, Against The Current

“Bracing and often electrifying ... A primer and a call to arms for a radical rank-and-file politics.”—Michael Watts, Professor of Geography and Development Studies at UC Berkeley

“Extraordinary reflections.”—Mike Davis

“[A] spirited volume ... a call to arms to today’s workers and potential activists.”—K.B. Nutter, Choice

“Page after page of the remarkable militancy of rank-and-file workers.”—John Borsos, WorkingUSA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844671748
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 11/22/2010
  • Pages: 434
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Aaron Brenner is President of Rank & File Enterprises, a financial and labor research firm.

Robert Brenner is Director of the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History at UCLA. He is the author of The Boom and the Bubble, Merchants and Revolution, The Economics of Global Turbulence and co-editor of Rebel Rank and File.

Cal Winslow is Director of the Mendocino Institute and Fellow in Environmental Politics, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley, and co-editor of Rebel Rank and File.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Mike Hamlin Hamlin, Mike

Preface Aaron Brenner Brenner, Aaron

Acknowledgments

1 Overview: The Rebellion from Below, 1965---81 Cal Winslow Winslow, Cal 1

2 The Political Economy of the Rank-and-File Rebellion Robert Brenner Brenner, Robert 37

3 Conflict, Change, and Economic Policy in the Long 1970s Judith Stein Stein, Judith 77

4 Understanding the Rank-and-File Rebellion in the Long 1970s Kim Moody Moody, Kim 105

5 The United Farm Workers from the Ground Up Frank Bardacke Bardacke, Frank 149

6 Rank-and-File Movements in the United Mine Workers of America, Early 1960s-Early 1980s Paul J. Nyden Nyden, Paul J. 173

7 The Tumultuous Teamsters of the 1970s Dan La Botz La Botz, Dan 199

8 Militancy in Many Forms: Teachers Strikes and Urban Insurrection, 1967-74 Marjorie Murphy Murphy, Marjorie 229

9 Rank-and-File Struggles at the Telephone Company Aaron Brenner Brenner, Aaron 251

10 Rank-and-File Opposition in the UAW During the Long 1970s A. C. Jones Jones, A. C. 281

11 American Petrograd: Detroit and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers Kieran Taylor Taylor, Kieran 311

12 "A Spontaneous Loss of Enthusiasm": Workplace Feminism and the Transformation of Women's Service Jobs in the 1970s Dorothy Sue Cobble Cobble, Dorothy Sue 335

13 The Enduring Legacy and Contemporary Relevance of Labor Insurgency in the 1970s Steve Early Early, Steve 357

List of Contributors 395

Index 399

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